“Today, I have tested positive for coronavirus.”
Those were the words spoken by HughE Dillon, noted Philly publicity photographer and creator of Philly Chit Chat blog, on Friday, March 20. He is currently quarantined in his home.
“I’m glad that I’m only experiencing mild symptoms,” said Dillon, who was tested on Tuesday, March 17, and received the results three days later. “I’m sleeping about 15-20 hours a day. It makes you feel tired. You’re not yourself— you just don’t feel right.”
Dillon came in contact with a public person who was in the news and had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Once he learned this information, Dillon called a coronavirus hotline to let them know he may have been exposed. At the time, he was experiencing a sore throat and cough, and soon after, extreme back pain.
“I called the hotline and told them I was next to this person. I said I’m very concerned because I’m a photographer,” said Dillon. “I’d like to get this test. I think I’m infected.”
A noted photographer on the Philly social scene for years, Dillon explained he was extremely concerned because he had photographed several public events and wanted to let others know that they may have been exposed. Luckily, doctors later informed him that he was only contagious for a 72-hour period, during which he only had contact with four people.
“All those people are fine, including my husband, who tested negative,” Dillon shared with close to 30,000 of his twitter followers on Sunday morning.
Doctors have advised the 56-year-old to stay home and closely monitor his symptoms. He was instructed not to take any medicine—experts want to closely study all patients’ progress and cannot if they are masked by medication. Doctors explained to Dillon that they need to know exactly how he’s feeling, so they can take appropriate action.
“If you can go five days without symptoms or a fever— of course you’re still quarantined for 14 days—but after five days without fever or symptoms you would be considered on the mend,” Dillon explained. “The doctors want to measure how you’re doing. It’s kind of fascinating, because it’s so new and they don’t really know how it’s interacting.
“I want everyone to know, it doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence,” he continued. “I understand why they don’t want me in the hospital. They need to save the beds for people who are really sick. They can monitor me from home. I don’t want people to be afraid, but I want them to stay at home.”
As of Sunday afternoon, Philadelphia has 96 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. The state of Pennsylvania has recorded 479 cases. Government and healthcare officials on a city, state and national level have instructed people to practice social distancing, regularly wash hands and self-quarantine as much as possible.
“You have to stay home,” said Dillon. “I’m lucky that I have these mild symptoms, but I might actually kill someone if I don’t stay inside. I don’t know if people realize, you think, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad,’ but you don’t know how it will affect others.”